You can’t beat the drama of the derby

Aruna Dindane scores in the the 4-1 FA Cup victory over Saints in 2010
Aruna Dindane scores in the the 4-1 FA Cup victory over Saints in 2010
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Most of us with Pompey connections will have friends, colleagues and possibly even family of a red and white persuasion.

We all have our problems to deal with, I suppose.

But discussing the return of Southampton and the only real south coast derby, one particular Pompey fanatic suggested to me he had no desire to see the old rivals back in the same tier as his beloved Blues.

‘I hope they stay down and never come back,’ he reasoned – although some of the expletives and colourful descriptions of the club have been removed. This is a family newspaper, after all.

Adopting a different strategy, I asked: ‘So in the past decade of following Pompey, which were your favourite games?’

‘Beating Southampton 4-1 at Fratton Park, beating Southampton 4-1 at their place, beating Southampton 1-0 in 2004.’

I butted in at that point.

‘How do you enjoy those victories if you never play them?’

He didn’t have an answer, unless you include questions over my parentage.

The point was, it may sit rather uncomfortably with most Pompey fans to watch their biggest rivals enjoy their success of promotion from League One and the joyous celebrations at leaving the third tier of English football.

But if it means the intensity, the atmosphere, the competitive spirit and the drama of the derby return, then so be it.

The 4-1 FA Cup victory at St Mary’s was the only meeting between the sides in the past six years.

And that’s far too long for a rivalry to prosper.

A flurry of six games in just two seasons from 2003-05 was a rare rich period of matches.

Saints came out on top with four wins to two in that little shake-up.

But those two wins for Pompey remain among the sweetest for Blues fans.

We’ll get at least another two fixtures next season.

And next month’s fixture list can’t come soon enough to start ticking down the days.